Original game date: August 12, 2017
The story begins in the city of Baldur’s Gate, where a trade caravan is about to get under way. The Mazmanian Mercantile Company is a prolific and expansive company that runs trade routes throughout the Sword Coast. The one about to get under way will complete the Silver Loop, heading south down to Nashkel, then inland to Greenest, before turning back north to Elturel and then home to Baldur’s Gate. The journey is expected to take nearly two months.
Saul and Grellosh have been working for the Mazmanians for some time and this is not their first caravan. Aesar, looking to get out of Baldur’s Gate in a hurry, is hired on as a Valet and placed under the supervision of the caravan’s Steward, Roark Kincaid. Aesar is surprised that he knows of Kincaid by reputation, as the author of an acclaimed opus that celebrates the common folk (along the lines of The Canterbury Tales).
Ander Stoneraven has been in Baldur’s Gate for some time, trying to expand his learning and studying under the mentorship of Thaddeus Greymane at The Observatory. This morning he is summoned to see Master Greymane, and after a brief exchange with his prim secretary Tabitha Bex, Ander is waived through. Thaddeus informs him that in thanks for his time at the Observatory, Ander is now expected to run an errand for him, delivering a box to the wizard Toffolo down in Nashkel. He’d better hurry, he is booked on a caravan that is about to leave town!
Meanwhile, Vorai has finally managed to arrange a meeting with a known Zhentarim agent in the hopes of joining the faction. His contact, Mortimer Splatz, is the proprietor of The Bloody Haunch, a tavern on Mutton Lane Yard. Mortimer is a vile man, his face badly scarred from some acid or ailment, the ruins covered by a series of small metal plates; his teeth range from deep yellow to rotten brown; his fingers are decked out with a variety of ostentatious rings. Mortimer is willing to sponsor Vorai into the family, but firt he must prove his worth. He is to join a caravan departing the city and keep an eye on a figure who is traveling with the Mazmanians, a female half-orc named Sylla Belfal, and track all her activities. Vorai is told how to recognize Zhent waystations, where he is to deliver regular reports. Do well, and when he returns to Baldur’s Gate he will be initiated into the Black Network.
As the caravan gets under way, Grellosh notices Sylla Belfal, and catches a look of recognition in her eyes, though he does not believe they’ve met.
The players are introduced to Pavel Mazmanian (the Caravan Master), Henrik Rivers (the Overseer), Roark Kincaid (the Steward) and Dawnstalker (the Marshall). Saul is tasked with helping the Drover, Ol’ Ebenever, tend to the livestock. For the full compliment see Pavel’s Caravan Manifest.
It takes some time to make their way out of the congested city of Baldur’s Gate and the first day is spent mainly in traffic before they reach the first of the Mazmanian caravansaries for the night.
The party’s first night does not pass without incident; while a band of hobgoblins poses as a distraction outside, a team of assassins led by a green dragonborn named Ekelam Elfarer, attempts to kill Lord Kubrick Dragonstone, whose life is saved by the party.